To Wait on Pale Ice

Day 4

The Adventure Series is a collection of outdoor experiences, highlighting stories about people with a shared appreciation for wildlife and wild places. These stories reach across cultural and political boundaries, connecting all walks of life and geographies. In pursuit of broadening our collective understanding, TU is partnering with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Arctic Beringia Region this week to take you into the heart of interior Alaska. Follow along each day this week as we bring you the series, “To Wait on Pale Ice,” photographed and written by Woodruff Laputka of the WCS. You can read the first installment here, the second installment here, and the Day 3 piece here.

With a loud, “zizzzz!” O set the hook.

‘Fish On!’ K shouted in celebration as O carefully measured distance, tension, and strength. Too much and the fish would snap the line. The native lake trout took several minutes to climb the dark distance above, and emerged, a specimen of about 15 to 20 pounds.

This beauty was textured green with a lace of yellow shades and dark spots threaded from its great back to a bright white beak and belly. Great eyes looked out in surprise as O held him for a picture.

“I better keep his head wet so his eyes don’t freeze,” O said, plunging the fish’s face into the water. Our moment of elation having arrived, we spent less than a minute with our new friend before lowering it back carefully to the small hole from where it emerged, sending it down to beneath the thick ice and the unseen universe below.

Only the sunlight could match our elation.

Stay tuned for Day 5.